By Jaime Zamora Cruz

© 2010 Jaime Cruz



CAST Stan, a dead eighteen year old from the seventies. Nick, a recently deceased young man in love. SETTING The busy intersection of a small town.

AT RISE: An intersection. Outside a police station. Stan looks all around him. A lot of change… We have a sushi place now? Nick enters screaming. NICK Stan they found me! They found me and she’s coming!! They found me! Hahaha!!! STAN So we done? I’m starting to smell like swine and I didn’t even go in. NICK They found me and they caught him! Oh buddy it’s a spectacle in there… STAN Hey congratulations Nick. Did you know we have a sushi place? NICK Oh forget the sushi! I’m getting resolved here!! STAN Yeah but, what do you know about the sushi place? NICK I was eavesdropping when they brought him into the interrogation room. He was sitting there crying his eyes out, like something out of General Hospital. So it’s done? NICK He’s booked. He’s behind bars. It’s done. STAN That’s far out, man. How are you feeling? Atoned for? NICK It’s all happening so quickly… I have to collect myself. You’re such a wallower. A wallower. What? STAN You always struck me as a wallower. You like to simmer in your own thoughts. It’s not healthy. NICK STAN STAN STAN

2 NICK That’s unfair. I just want to get myself together before we celebrate! See, this is what I’m talking about. NICK I’m experiencing catharsis as we speak, the unresolved has just been solved! …Wallower. NICK That’s it! I am not a wallower. I am so not a wallower and I am going to go out and celebrate this moment! STAN Oh where are we off to? NICK You want sushi? Okay. Let’s go over to the sushi restaurant and watch people eat— And what good is that going to do you? NICK Oh? This coming from the guy who spies on unsuspecting couples as they engage in steamy sexual escapades? STAN How else are the dead supposed to have fun, you square? Did you just call me a square? Say what? NICK Forget it. Let’s go to the Old Mill and watch people get plastered, this is a joyous occasion after all. STAN It’s the same concept as watching people do it. But removing the element of voyeurism. Nick— —It’s less perverted. NICK STAN NICK STAN NICK STAN STAN STAN

3 STAN They’re still second hand emotions. Are you quoting Tina Turner? STAN Good God, no… Besides, you don’t have time to celebrate. You better pack your bags. Why do you say that? STAN Your unresolved businesses have been laid to rest. Come on, Stan. You should know better. STAN Sorry. Puns just come out of me, can’t help it. But really, you have to get ready to go. NICK Are you kidding me? I haven’t felt this alive— —Since you were alive? In a long time… …Have they told your lady friend? NICK Yeah and she’s coming—she’s on her way. Good God I have a phenomenal woman— STAN Had a phenomenal woman. Who might I add, is a fox. That’s my Kelly you’re talking about— STAN —Settle down, it’s not like I can woo her in my current state. NICK She’s beautiful. I hate it when she’s surrounded by men, just makes her a target. Just paying her a compliment. NICK But she did pull through with that warrant. STAN NICK STAN NICK STAN NICK NICK NICK

4 STAN She did. NICK The rest of the family thought she was crazy— —I bet. With a story like that. NICK Be honest with me. Do you see this a lot? I ask because, you’ve been here a while. STAN See it all the time. People killed by their kin. It’s madness. Yeah. Heartbreaking. STAN But let’s be honest. You’ve had more than enough time to recover. NICK My cousin Eric took a two by four to the back of my head. One clean swing. My kin, as you put it: And you don’t think I have a few scars that time has yet to heal? This was ages ago. NICK I’ve only been dead six months! Sorry I haven’t had an eternity to think of my untimely death like a certain someone— —Excuse me? NICK You’ve had plenty of time to atone and reflect on how you landed here! And you expect anyone who lands in this purgatory, this waiting place, whatever you want to call it, to resign themselves the same way you have?! …You’re being inconsiderate. STAN Inconsiderate? How can you say that to me? NICK I said it just now, I’ll say it again. You’re an inconsiderate. STAN An inconsiderate? Don’t you forget I showed you the ropes around here, without me, you would have made a lot of enemies. NICK This isn’t prison. This is the afterlife. I’m not going to become someone’s bitch without your protection. STAN STAN NICK STAN

5 STAN Snippets didn’t like you. I changed that. NICK Snippets is a great guy, I just told him I don’t mind the way he looks. He’s not a pretty sight, I’ll give you that. NICK Point being, I’m not a wallower, nor am I inconsiderate, you are! STAN You know it’s a good thing you’re leaving, ‘cause I was just getting sick of your antics! NICK Sorry to disappoint, but I’m not going anywhere for a while. That’s not the way this goes. Please enlighten me. You prick. STAN You get killed. You have unresolved matters to tend to. You roam in this ridiculous no man’s land until you or your surviving loved ones get your shit together and atone. And then what? STAN Then you say goodbye and you leave. For good. NICK …But maybe I can stay a little while longer? STAN For what? Your killer’s been caught! You can stop wandering this infuriating waiting room! Man, I’m surprised you’re still here, it’s not even your call to make! Maybe I do have a say in it! STAN That’s bitchin’ man: So all this time, I could have simply avoided my misery through willpower and a can-do attitude? …Maybe. STAN Enough with the maybes! …You know what I got on my high school graduation day? The keys to my old man’s ‘67 Pontiac. The Goat, they used to call it. Wasn’t a big deal, NICK NICK NICK NICK STAN STAN

6 STAN (CONT’D) family had quite a bit of moolah. Snippets said that car was destined to become a classic: A real muscle car. I had no clue. I just thought it was groovy and I wanted to pick up chicks with it. So I got in the driver’s seat, picked up my friends and we went out. Unsupervised. For some goddamned reason my parents seemed to trust me. I drove it to a party. It was supposed to be off the hook. Drank myself stupid until everything went dark. Alcohol poisoning. May 9th, 1977. Thought I was so hip. I was a brat. Damn. That’s a hot car. Not as hot as your girlfriend— —Watch it. STAN But the good news is that you now have a one-way ticket to the pearly gates. You get to move on, man! Keep truckin’! …What else is keeping you here, Stan? …They never found my body. NICK What do you mean—you died at a party, didn’t you? Lots of people… STAN My buddies. They made sure I disappeared. And the Pontiac? Disappeared. Erased. NICK I don’t understand, how is this still unresolved after decades? Didn’t you have CSI, with their fingerprint database and their semen detectors? STAN They covered their tracks. Those guys came from good families and wanted nothing coming back to them. NICK You can still do something, can’t you? You gotta do something! STAN Oh yeah, tell me how to do that, Zen-master? You seem to have everything figured out. STAN NICK STAN NICK NICK STAN NICK

7 NICK I don’t know. Go haunt their houses or something! STAN Nick, take a chill pill! …You let me worry about my deal and you worry about your own. Stan— —You got a long way to go. Oh my God, Kelly! There she is! They watch Kelly walk past them and into the police station. A moment… …Well? Had enough? NICK God I just want to touch her. I’m going in— —You can’t. What about closure?! STAN That’s more than any of us ever get, so beat it! Hit the road, Jack! …Went too far. They don’t know what to say to each other. They stare at the traffic. STAN (CONT’D) Lot of traffic. This little town’s gotten way bigger since my day. Stan. Good things will come. STAN If the seventies didn’t bring my atonement I don’t think I’ll be getting one at all. NICK Jesus. Looks on the bright side! …What if there was a way to trade? Say what? STAN NICK NICK STAN STAN NICK STAN NICK

8 NICK If I pass my atonement, my moment of catharsis on to you. Would you be able to rest in peace? …You’re an idiot. NICK I just… I wish I could stay longer. Be closer to Kelly. A little closer. STAN You’ll be fine, man. I assure you whatever you have in store will be much better than this looking-through-the-window bullshit. Who knows, maybe you’ll get to have her again in Heaven. Nick stares after Kelly. Chuckles. STAN (CONT’D) She’s gotta catch up to you sometime? (bad thing to say) You’ll be fine, I mean… NICK That’s a morbid thing to say. But I think you’re righ— —And the epiphany hits. NICK (CONT’D) … Oh my God: I’m atoned. I’m atoned! I feel so, cathartic inside… (laughs joyously) I gotta go, buddy. But where? Nick can’t stop his giddy laughter. STAN They say you’re supposed to start walking. ‘Til you don’t know where you are anymore. I suppose your final destination will make itself be known to you. How do you know that? STAN I’ve been here long enough to know that’s the way it is. Trust me. Thanks Stan. STAN Just answer me this: Where did they find you? NICK In the trunk of his car. My body had been there all along. He left it there over the winter to freeze. He was on his way to get rid of it when he ran the red light… He ran a red light. That’s how he got busted. Why? NICK NICK STAN

9 STAN I had a little bet going with Snippets. Looks like I won. NICK I don’t even want to know. But you tell Snippets he really is as ugly as he feels. STAN That’s low. You try looking good after being torn up by a semi. Smiles. Beat. You take care, Stan. You do the same, Nick. They shake hands. Nick exits. Stan looks to the intersection. LIGHTS OUT. STAN NICK

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